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After opting out of bubble, Bradley ready to play again

MIAMI (AP) — Avery Bradley still has serious concerns about the coronavirus, particularly because one of his children has struggled with respiratory illnesses.Those concerns kept him from the NBA’s restart bubble. They won’t keep him from this season.Bradley has finalized his new contract with the Miami Heat — the team he would have faced off against in the NBA Finals had he gone to the bubble at Walt Disney World this summer with his previous team, the Los Angeles Lakers. And when the Heat open camp next week in advance of the Dec. 22 start of the regular season, Bradley said he’ll be ready.“I mean, this is the new normal,” said Bradley, who wore a mask for his first media session as a member of the Heat on Tuesday — a call held over Zoom. “My decision right now is to just focus on playing. That’s my focus. I feel like everyone has a better idea of this virus; obviously, there’s still some unknowns. But my decision not to go to the bubble just was about the impact on my family.”Bradley and his wife sat down this past June, weighed the pros and cons, and he ultimately decided not to take the risk. The Lakers beat the Heat for the NBA title in six games; the Lakers also gave Bradley their blessing to exercise his right to not play, something that the league and the National Basketball Players Association agreed was an appropriate option to offer players before going to the bubble.This season won’t be held in a bubble. Teams will be on planes, in hotels, playing road games again. There will be risks, though the league is still working on health and safety protocols that will be designed to mitigate those risks as much as possible.“Obviously, it’s going to be a unique start of this season and some new things that we’re going to have to get used to, but I’m ready for it,” Bradley said. “We’re just going to try to navigate through it as best as we can.”Miami becomes Bradley’s sixth team. The 6-foot-3 guard — who turns 30 on Thanksgiving Day — averaged 8.6 points for the Lakers last season and is a career 11.8-points-per-game scorer through his first 10 seasons.He has viewed Miami as the place he’d like to play for some time.“We all know what it means to be a Miami Heat player, the passion and the dedication it takes to be a part of this culture,” Bradley said. “And I always felt like if I ever got an opportunity to play here, then I would fit in perfect. ... It’s here now, and I’m going to make sure I take advantage of it. I’m prepared and I’m excited about it because I do feel like a perfect fit.”___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Asian shares mostly rise after Dow crests 30,000 points

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly rose Wednesday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 30,000 points for the first time despite an ongoing pandemic, as progress in development of coronavirus vaccines kept investors in a buying mood.Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.5% to finish at 26,296.86. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 6,683.30. South Korea's Kospi lost early gains to decline 0.6% to 2,601.54. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2% to 26,636.98, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 1.2% to 3,362.33. Jingyi Pan, senior market strategist at IG in Singapore, noted news that the transition of power in the U.S. to President-elect Joe Biden will finally begin, as well as his selection of former Fed chair Janet Yellen as treasury secretary, were encouraging traders. “While the vaccine optimism had changed the outlook for Asia markets hoping for a quicker recovery, the formal transition for the Biden administration alongside former Fed chair Janet Yellen’s expected lead of the U.S. Treasury had only served as embellishments contributing to expectations for a more conducive environment for the recovery,” Pan said. The Dow rose more than 450 points, or 1.5%, to cross the milestone. The S&P 500 index, which has a far greater impact on 401(k) accounts than the Dow, rose 1.6%, climbing to its own all-time high.The gains extend a monthlong market rally driven by growing optimism that development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments will loosen the pandemic's stranglehold on the economy. They also mark a rapid climb for the Dow from its March 23 low of just under 18,600 during the worst of its early pandemic nosedive. “We are one step closer to moving past the election uncertainty,” said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest. “People are still optimistic about what 2021 has to bring, from an economic perspective and an earnings perspective.” The S&P 500 rose 57.82 points to 3,635.41. The Dow gained 454.97 points to 30,046.24. Both indexes eclipsed record highs set early last week. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite picked up 156.15 points, or 1.3%, to 12,036.79.Traders continued to favor stocks that stand to gain the most from a gradual reopening of the economy, such as banks and industrial companies. Technology and communication stocks, which have been investor favorites through the pandemic, also helped lift the market. In another signal that investors were feeling confident, the Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks outpaced the broader market, picking up 35.23 points, or 1.9%, to 1,853.53, also a record high.“There’s some relief that Biden is choosing moderates to fill out the cabinet,” said Barry Bannister, head of institutional equity strategy at Stifel. Bannister also said the encouraging vaccine news continues to give hope there is an end in sight to the pandemic.Several candidates are in development for a vaccine. Drugmaker AstraZeneca has said its potential vaccine, being developed with Oxford University, was up to 90% effective. Unlike rival candidates, AstraZeneca’s doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute. Pfizer and Moderna have also reported study results showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals received U.S. government approval for emergency use of its COVID-19 treatment over the weekend. The drug, which President Donald Trump received when he was sickened last month, is meant to try to prevent hospitalization and worsening disease from developing in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will be open for half the day on Friday, closing at 1 p.m. Eastern.In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude gained 32 cents to $45.23 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 44 cents to $48.30 a barrel.In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched up to 104.53 Japanese ye from 104.30 yen. The euro cost $1.1896, up from $1.1878.

A migrant's odyssey from boat to COVID nursing job in Spain

BILBAO, Spain (AP) — The six migrants listen attentively to Mbaye Babacar Diouf, whose own journey across the Atlantic to a job nursing COVID-19 patients in Spain and giving back to the community through his own nonprofit would seem to scream success.But Babacar warns the men who've arrived from Senegal, Ghana and Morocco that he's no role model. Behind the appearance of triumph, he's scarred from years of humiliation and exploitation trying to repay a 4,500-euro ($5,350) debt to human traffickers.“I wish every one of you achieves your life goals, but I don’t desire for anybody the complicated and tough journey that I went through,” Senegal-born Babacar, 33, tells the group. He's keen to make the point that Europe offers no panacea if the price is drowning at sea or living forever in society's shadows.He acknowledges it's a strange message from somebody who's built a career that allows him to fly home to Dakar to visit a family he supports with remittances. Dressed in a crisply ironed blue uniform, the dreadlocked and bespectacled man smiles generously. He speaks perfect Spanish, displaying a mix of kindness and self-confidence ahead of his night shift at Bilbao's 700-bed Basurto University Hospital.Dealing with the coronavirus has been stressful and emotional. “I’ve seen people die at sea, but this is different,” he says. “I love my job, but there have been situations that have churned my stomach.”Long before Babacar could call the Basque city his home, there were tough nights sleeping in the open, surviving by street-peddling for migrant traffickers. The times when he couldn't dodge police raids and landed in a cell, his dream of becoming a nurse seemed elusive.The idea grew on him upon arrival in the Canary Islands. At 15, hungry and dehydrated after a 10-day journey among 8-meter waves, he was touched by the care Red Cross volunteers showed him and 137 others in his boat. “That instant, I promised myself that one day I would be a nurse," Babacar recounts.It was 2003 and the Atlantic route of migration to Europe was seeing a surge that would peak three years later, with hundreds of lives swallowed by the sea. Babacar still remembers the silence on the wooden fishing boat when, on the seventh day of their second attempted crossing, they encountered dozens of floating corpses.“That’s when you realize that there is no way back,” he says. “Either you make it or you die.”The boats are again departing in droves. And migrant-trafficking mafias continue extending their tentacles deep into European soil, tracking their victims wherever they go and charging them for a place to sleep, documents that can open doors to healthcare, or petty illegal jobs. Some never escape the vicious circle of debt and irregularity.“Nothing has changed,” says Babacar. “The journey on the boat can last just a few tough days, but adapting to a system that leaves us in limbo, on European soil but without permission to legally work, is like being born again and having to relearn everything.”Life took a sharp turn for the better when he met Juan Gil, the man he now calls “Aita," father in Basque. Babacar washed dishes at a bar. Gil needed some refurbishing work done at home. Soon, the young worker became a guest at every meal. Gil had lost his mother recently and his daughter had moved out, so he persuaded Babacar to move in — leaving his overpriced bed in a four-room apartment shared with 15 other men.“I told my daughter Mbaye was lucky. But she told me we had been the lucky ones with him,” says Gil, 74, an artist and retired art teacher. “And she was absolutely right."At 28, after a lengthy and expensive battle against bureaucracy, Babacar was officially adopted by Gil — the surname now listed on his Spanish passport.He was able to pay back his remaining debt, send more money to relatives, enrol in nursing school and, upon graduation, secure a job with the Basque regional public health service. But his eyes are already set on his next goal: studying medicine and returning to Senegal to continue, as a physician, with the work of his NGO, Sunu Gaal, or “Our Fishing Boat” in Senegal's Wolof language.The organization works to help both migrants in Bilbao and youth back in Senegal, where it's trying to build a school. “The idea is not to tell them to migrate or to stay put,” explains Babacar. “The goal is to infuse them with critical thinking to make informed decisions and not to fall prey to the mafias.”___“One Good Thing” is a series that highlights individuals whose actions provide glimmers of joy in hard times — stories of people who find a way to make a difference, no matter how small. Read the collection of stories at https://apnews.com/hub/one-good-thing.

Mission for ex-Jets star Lyons is granting ill kids' wishes

NEW YORK (AP) — Marty Lyons pauses, fights back tears and clears his throat nearly every time he mentions the children who are no longer here.The former New York Jets defensive lineman and longtime team radio analyst has seen way too many youngsters enter his life and then die from the cancer and other illnesses that have robbed them — and their loved ones — of bright futures.“I mean, these are little kids, but the pain that their families endure for the rest of their life is, sometimes it’s unbearable because there’s always going to be a missing face,” Lyons said during a telephone interview. “There’s always going to be a birthday to celebrate.”But also so many other days to remember the lasting impacts they made in just a few short years.“These kids that are unfortunately dying at an early age are teachers in the game of life, even though they might only be 4 or 5 or 6 years old," Lyons said. "They have a message. I remember one little girl I met, she looked at me and said, ‘Mr. Marty, why are you crying?’ "And I couldn’t get out an answer because she said, ‘I’m going to be OK. I’ve already seen the angels.’”Lyons has been on a mission — 38 years and counting — to fulfill the wishes of children between the ages of 3 and 17 who have been diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness. He started the Marty Lyons Foundation in 1982 and the nonprofit has granted over 8,000 wishes and raised over $35 million while growing to 10 chapters in 13 states.The 63-year-old former football star also has a new book called, “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories From The New York Jets Sideline, Locker Room and Press Box.” Co-authored by Lou Sahadi, the book includes tales from Lyons' playing days at Alabama and then as a member of the “New York Sack Exchange” with the Jets, along with observations from his 19 years as a radio broadcaster. It's also packed with emotional stories about the young children he has met along the way.“I wanted to make sure that the readers understood that there was more to me than being a football player,” said Lyons, a member of the Jets' ring of honor. “Certainly, I appreciate it and I’m very humbled and honored to be a part of the Jets organization, and I loved every minute of it. But there is nothing more important than me telling crossover stories about kids that have lost their lives at an early age because of cancer."Lyons signed over all of the proceeds he gets from the book directly to his foundation, which was started after the most emotionally tough week of his life. His oldest son Rocky was born on March 4, 1982, and Marty's father was making plans to fly to New York to meet his grandson. Leo Lyons never made the trip, dying at 58 of a heart attack on March 8. While attending his father's wake in Florida two days later, Lyons called home and received the news that Keith, his little brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, died of leukemia just two months shy of his sixth birthday.“So, in a matter of six days, I was challenged,” Lyons recalled. “I kept asking myself, what am I doing wrong in life? Why would God do this to me? And the more I asked why me, the more I learned to understand I was actually saying, why not somebody else?”But Lyons didn't want anyone to feel the pain he was experiencing. So he approached Jets teammate Ken Schroy about what he could do to make more of a difference.From there, the Marty Lyons Foundation was born, and the two continue to brighten young children's days by granting wishes — a visit to Disney World, celebrity meet-and-greets, a computer, a swimming pool — and being there for their families during the darkest of times.“He takes that passion from his playing days and switched it to a passion for the children,” said Schroy, a former safety who was Lyons' Jets teammate from 1979-84. "It's amazing to see him interact with so many children. We've been to so many hospitals with children fighting for their lives. Granting the wishes was the easy part. Helping them fight the disease moving forward was tough.“And Marty, he just wears his heart on his sleeve. He always did. He's just an amazing man.”The coronavirus pandemic has hampered the Marty Lyons Foundation's abilities to grant as many wishes as it usually does. It's holding a virtual silent auction through its site from Nov. 27-Dec. 11 to help raise funds to fulfill more wishes.Lyons is quick to deflect credit for his foundation's work, insisting it's the group of staffers, friends and volunteers that has helped him build it to what it is today. The book has allowed him to recognize them, while also impacting readers.“I’ve had people reply back: ‘When I read the book, I found myself laughing and I found myself crying, and at the end of the book, I found myself inspired,'" Lyons said. “I know for me writing it, it was an emotional roller coaster.”The chuckles in the locker room and on the playing fields. The tears shed over the children and their families. And, the lessons learned over 38 years. “My dad loved life,” Lyons said, his voice cracking. "But, if I had to tell him, ‘Dad, you’re going to die so that I could start a foundation and I could help all these kids,' he would've said, ‘Fine. Let me have one more cigarette, one more beer and I’m good.' It doesn't take away the pain. But when I started the foundation, it was the vehicle for me to move on because life doesn't stop for any one of us. "When all is said and done and you look back at your life and what you were able to do and what you were able to accomplish, the biggest question you can ask yourself is, did I make an impact?”___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Germany set to extend partial shutdown well into December

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country's 16 state governors are expected Wednesday to extend a partial shutdown well into December, and discuss tightening some restrictions while allowing somewhat more generous rules for the Christmas period.Germany embarked on a so-called “wave-breaker” shutdown on Nov. 2, shutting restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities but leaving schools, shops and hair salons open. It was initially slated to last four weeks.Proposals drawn up ahead of Wednesday's videoconference by state governors, who are responsible for imposing and lifting restrictions, call for extending the shutdown until Dec. 20.So far, the measures have succeeded in halting an upward surge in new coronavirus infections — but they have stabilized at a high level, rather than sinking back to levels at which authorities feel contact-tracing efforts can be successful.On Wednesday, the national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 18,633 new cases over the past 24 hours — compared with 17,561 a week earlier. The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 climbed by 410, the highest single-day total yet.Proposals for Wednesday's gathering envision tightening contact restrictions and mask-wearing rules. The federal government reportedly plans around 17 billion euros ($20 billion) more in aid to compensate businesses hit by the shutdown, following more than 10 billion euros this month.Over the Christmas period, plans so far call for somewhat looser contact restrictions.Germany, which has 83 million people, was credited with a relatively good performance in the first phase of the pandemic. It still has a lower death rate than several other European countries, and its current shutdown has been relatively mild.Germany has reported a total of 961,320 virus cases since the pandemic began, including 14,771 deaths.___Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Bluebloods Penn St., Michigan enter game with case of blues

Things to watch during the sixth week of play in the Big Ten Conference:GAME OF THE WEEKPenn State at MichiganThis isn't a game of the week in the traditional sense, but it's sure to draw lots of eyeballs. Penn State is 0-5 for the first time, the quarterback situation is murky and coach James Franklin doesn't appear to have any answers. The state of Michigan's program is summed up by the fact it needed three overtimes to beat Rutgers and improve to 2-3. Jim Harbaugh has one more year left on his contract. The question is whether he'll be at Michigan after next month.BEST MATCHUPMaryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa vs. Indiana's pass defense. Tagovailoa has thrown for 676 yards in the last two games, the most by a Maryland quarterback in back-to-back wins since Scott Milanovich passed for 692 in 1994. The Hoosiers are in bounce-back mode after losing to Ohio State, and their secondary must be up to the task against a quarterback who has completed 72% of his passes and thrown six TD passes in his last two games.INSIDE THE NUMBERSDivision leaders Ohio State and Northwestern are big favorites in their road games. The Buckeyes are giving 28 points against an improving Illinois. The last time Ohio State lost as a double-digit favorite was in 2018, a 49-20 defeat at Purdue. Northwestern is favored by two touchdowns against Michigan State. The Wildcats' last loss as a double-digit favorite also was in 2018, a 39-34 defeat to Akron at home.LONG SHOTNebraska is a 14-point underdog at Iowa on Friday and should be eager to atone for its embarrassing 18-point home loss to Illinois. The Hawkeyes are on the rise following a slow start. They've won five in a row in this rivalry, the last two on field goals with 0 and 1 second remaining. IMPACT PLAYERPurdue WR Rondale Moore, if his hamstring is right, could be in line for a big follow-up to his 15-catch game against Minnesota. Moore is a rare talent, and Rutgers' pass defense has given up 8.1 yards per attempt and 15 touchdowns and has just two interceptions in five games.___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

What an offseason! Hawks bulk up big time in free agency

ATLANTA (AP) — Just like that, the Atlanta Hawks transformed themselves into a playoff contender.A team that averaged less than 25 wins the last three seasons added to its impressive young core with a whirlwind of free-agent signings, capped by the news late Tuesday that Sacramento would not match a four-year, $72 million offer sheet to Bogdan Bogdanovic.“It's go time,” tweeted Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young, clearly excited by the bulked-up supporting case he'll have around him in 2021.“Let's work!!!” Bogdanovic tweeted back.Flush with cash heading into free agency after beginning a major overhaul three years ago, the Hawks quickly signed forward Danilo Gallinari (three years, $61.5 million) and guards Rajon Rondo (two years, $15 million) and Kris Dunn (two years, $10 million). Then, after a proposed sign-and-trade that would have sent Bogdanovic to the Milwaukee Bucks fell through, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk pounced at the opportunity to grab the 28-year-old Serbian guard with a lucrative offer that he figured the Kings wouldn't be able to match.He was right.“Bogdan has a great feel for the game, and we expect him to be a great fit for us," Schlenk said. So capped a six-day transformation for one of the league's backwater franchises, which began last Thursday with the selection of Southern California center Onyeka Okongwu at No. 6 overall in the NBA draft.Adding Bogdanovic, Gallinari, Rondo, Dunn and Okongwu to a promising core of Young, John Collins, De'Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish — all first-round picks the previous three years — suddenly makes the Hawks one of the Eastern Conference's most intriguing teams.Schlenk appears to have addressed the squad's three biggest shortcomings: defense, 3-point shooting and depth.Gallinari, who officially came aboard on a sign-and-trade with Oklahoma City that also netted the Hawks cash considerations and only cost them a conditional second-round draft pick in 2025, averaged 18.7 points and shot 40.5% from beyond the arc for the Thunder.He gives coach Lloyd Pierce some intriguing options in a front court that already has a budding star at power forward in Collins, who averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds in the pandemic-shortened season. There's also Hunter, the No. 5 overall pick in 2019, at small forward. “Danilo checks a lot of boxes for what we have prioritized,” Schlenk said. “At his size, he is one of the league’s most versatile and efficient scorers and he has proven to be the type of veteran you want in your locker room.”Gallinari also provides a bit of insurance with Collins heading into his final year before restricted free agency and reportedly looking to land a max contract that the Hawks may be reluctant to hand out.Atlanta will have a completely new look at center with Okongwu and expected starter Clint Capela, who was acquired from Houston last season at the trade deadline but was injured and never got on the court with Atlanta before the season shut down.Of course, Young is the centerpiece of this franchise, a charismatic, high-scoring point guard who was voted an All-Star Game starter in just his second season. Young averaged 29.6 points and 9.3 assists, but he was a big liability at the defensive end and the offense struggled to create scoring chances anytime he took a breather. That's where the 34-year-old Rondo should provide a significant upgrade, giving the backcourt another much-needed distributer who is coming off a stellar playoff run with the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.Bogdanovic figures to make Young even more effective, giving Atlanta another weapon at shooting guard. The 28-year-old averaged 15.1 points and shot 37.2% from 3-point range for the Kings last season.“It’s no secret that one of our biggest areas of focus in free agency was adding shooting and quality depth," Schlenk said. "With Bogdan as part of our incoming group, we feel those are now areas of strength.”This is exactly what the Hawks had in mind when they began a major overhaul in 2017, only two years removed from a surprising 60-win season and run to the Eastern Conference final. Schlenk stuck to his plan of building first through the draft, hoarding young talent while taking on big-money contracts that would come off the books about the time he thought his squad was ready to make a major leap forward.It looks like that time has arrived.___Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

College football picks: Football feast missing some dishes

The Thanksgiving weekend football feast will be missing a few of the dishes that have become mainstays.Schedules altered and seasons delayed by the pandemic have taken off the table a bunch of rivalry games that have become a staple of the last weekend in November, including Michigan-Ohio State and all those in-state matchups of ACC and SEC schools such as Clemson-South Carolina.The Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State, canceled. Same with Minnesota and Wisconsin's long-running rivalry for Paul Bunyan's Axe; it's the first time since 1906 the Gophers and Badgers won't play.The three-day college football weekend is still quite a spread with the Iron Bowl between No. 22 Auburn and No. 1 Alabama as the main event Saturday and two games matching ranked teams Friday with playoff and conference title ramifications.No. 2 Notre Dame (CFP No. 2) plays at No. 25 North Carolina in a game that could mess up the Atlantic Coast Conference's hopes of putting two teams in the College Football Playoff.In the Big 12, No. 15 Iowa State faces No. 20 Texas. The Cyclones clinch a spot in the conference title game with a victory. A victory by the Longhorns makes things complicated, leaving all the contenders with at least two league losses heading down the stretch and head-to-head tiebreakers all over the place.The football feeding frenzy might not have everything you want but there is still plenty to choose from this weekend.The picks:FRIDAYNo. 2 Notre Dame (minus 4) at No. 25 North CarolinaA couple of bad losses have made the Tar Heels long shots to reach the ACC title game, but QB Sam Howell and crew have a formidable offense ... NORTH CAROLINA 35-31. No. 15 Iowa State (plus 1 1/2) at No. 20 TexasCyclones are 3-17 against the Longhorns and will try to beat Texas in consecutive seasons for the first time ... IOWA STATE 27-23.SATURDAYNo. 22 Auburn (plus 25) at No. 1 AlabamaLast six meetings when both teams are ranked, Tigers are 4-2, including last year. But the Tide hasn't lost consecutive Iron Bowls with Nick Saban as coach ... ALABAMA 42-21. No. 3 Ohio State (minus 28) at IllinoisIllini are allowing quarterbacks to complete 71% of their passes. They've been better the last three weeks, but here comes Justin Fields ... OHIO STATE 52-21. Pittsburgh (plus 24) at No. 4 ClemsonWill the Tigers take their FSU frustrations out on the Panthers? ... CLEMSON 45-17.LSU (plus 14 1/2) at No. 5 Texas A&MTigers have won eight of nine since the Aggies joined the SEC, but seem ripe for some A&M payback ... TEXAS A&M 38-28.Kentucky (plus 23) at No. 6 FloridaWildcats go from 60-point loss with a shorthanded roster against Alabama to facing the nation's hottest quarterback in Kyle Trask ... FLORIDA 45-20. No. 7 Cincinnati (minus 36) at TempleOwls are on their way to their first losing season since 2013, which is pretty amazing considering the history of the program ... CINCINNATI 35-3.No. 9 Oregon (minus 13 1/2) at Oregon StateDucks have won 11 of 12 in the rivalry that's looking for a new name since the Civil War was dumped ... OREGON 31-21.No. 11 Northwestern (minus 13 1/2) at Michigan StateSince gaining 537 yards in the opener against Maryand, the unbeaten Wildcats have been held under 300 yards in three of four games ... NORTHWESTERN 23-14.Maryland (plus 11 1/2) at No. 12 IndianaQB Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terps were rolling before a two-week COVID-19 pause ... INDIANA 35-27. No. 13 Georgia (minus 21 1/2) at South CarolinaAfter a rousing debut, what can Bulldogs QB J.T. Daniels do for an encore against one of the SEC's worst pass defenses? ... GEORGIA 45-17. No. 14 Oklahoma (minus 10 1/2) at West VirginiaSooners have won all eight meetings since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 ... OKLAHOMA 31-17.No. 16 Coastal Carolina (minus 17) at Texas StateLet's hear it for the Texas State Bobcats, who are about play their 12th game of the season without a postponement ... COASTAL CAROLINA 42-21.Colorado (plus 13 1/12) at No. 19 USCTrojans will try to make it 15-0 all-time against the Buffs, if they can get past some COVID-19 issues ... USC 34-26.Texas Tech (plus 11) at No. 21 Oklahoma StateRed Raiders come in with a two-game winning streak against the Cowboys ... OKLAHOMA STATE 35-20.No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette (minus 28 1/2) at Louisiana-MonroeSix of the last seven meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer, with the Ragin' Cajuns winning four of those close games ... LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 38-17.TWITTER REQUESTSColorado State (plus 5) at Air Force, Thursday — @scott_callihanFalcons have won four straight in the in-state rivalry ... AIR FORCE 27-20.Kent State (plus 7) at Buffalo — @mattsarzMaybe the MAC's game of the year: Golden Flashes have put up 131 points in their last two games and the Bulls have scored at least 42 in each game during a 3-0 start ... BUFFALO 45-41.Memphis (minus 13 1/2) at Navy — @travelbyjohnmBeen a ragged season for both teams, but the winner is still alive for a spot in the AAC championship game ... MEMPHIS 35-18.Penn State (plus 2) at Michigan — @flaveydavieWinless Nittany Lions and the Wolverines coming off a big victory against Rutgers. Yeesh ... PENN STATE 26-24. Stanford (plus 1 1/2) at California — @adam_evarts19Big Game rivals have combined for four losses, two canceled games and no victories ... STANFORD 24-21. Mississippi State (plus 9 1/2) at Mississippi — @Brett_HudsonFirst Egg Bowl with Mike Leach coaching the Bulldogs and Lane Kiffin leading the Rebels. Let the fun begin ... OLE MISS 45-38.___RecordLast week: 14-4 straight; 11-7 against the spread.Season: 122-48 straight; 82-86-1 against the spread.___Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Women's hoops set to begin: flexibility key in COVID times

Eight months after women's college basketball was stopped because of the coronavirus, the sport is back, with the new season tipping off Wednesday.This year, getting to the Final Four, which is slated to be played in San Antonio, might not be purely about having the most talented team. It also could very well hinge on who has the least disruptions because of the coronavirus.Flexibility, fluidity and adaptability are three words that every coach in the country has adopted this year as team mantras. Before games even started, dozens of teams have had to pause their practices because of positive COVID-19 tests. With a positive result comes an NCAA suggested 14-day quarantine period for entire programs. No. 3 UConn saw its first four games wiped out Monday when the Huskies had a positive result by someone in the program. Coach Geno Auriemma said it wasn't a player or coach. It didn't matter. The team is not allowed to practice for two weeks.That eliminated early season showdowns with No. 5 Louisville and potentially sixth-ranked Mississippi State.“Everybody is going to be in this scenario at some point,” Auriemma said. “Either already has been, is, or will be. You can just pretty much predict that.”Before the season started, 20 games that were scheduled to be played on Wednesday were either canceled or postponed, including one for Louisville. Cardinals coach Jeff Walz didn't let that stop him from getting a game. Knowing that this would be the norm this season, Walz started a text chain with a dozen coaches so that they could schedule games at the last minute when cancellations happened. Walz also went to social media. The result ended up being a game at Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday.“You just have to adapt and be flexible,” Walz said. “We know it's going to be pretty common this year to have games postponed late, so why not figure out a way to pick up a game a different way.”Walz's texting group has now grown to 25 members and will keep getting bigger.South Carolina was the early favorite, earning the first No. 1 preseason ranking in school history. Dawn Staley's squad returns many talented players from last season's team that lost just one game. While the NCAA announced that the entire men's basketball tournament will be played at single site this year to help avoid potential problems with COVID-19, the women haven't decided yet what they want to do. If they do end up playing their NCAA Tournament games in a single city, San Antonio would be the leading candidate because it had been awarded the Final Four.Here are a few other things to look forward to this season:CHASING PAT: Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and Auriemma should both pass Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt's record win total of 1,098. VanDerveer sits four victories behind the Tennessee great, while Auriemma is seven away. Predicting when either will get there is difficult because of games potentially being lost due to the virus.“In a normal year, you’d have a better answer for it, with what’s going on right now, makes you appreciate each game,” said VanDerveer's whose team is No. 2 in the preseason poll. “I don’t know what the number is; I purposely don’t think about it. I know it’s out there, reminds me what an incredible opportunity I have to work with the players I’ve worked with and the teams I have. It makes me appreciate it a little bit more.”NEW FACES: With so many stars lost to graduation, including four members of The Associated Press All-America first team from last spring, new players will have a chance to step into the spotlight. Kentucky's Rhyne Howard — the lone returner from the All-America team — is poised to continue breaking more records for the Wildcats. She was the nation's second-leading scorer last season. She was joined on this year's preseason All-America team by South Carolina's Aliyah Boston, Louisville's Dana Evans, Arizona's Aari McDonald and UCLA's Michaela Onyenwere.WELCOME BACK: There were many new coaching hires this past offseason, two though could have major impacts. Kara Lawson and Niele Ivey left NBA assistant coaching positions to take over at Duke and Notre Dame, respectively. It is Lawson's first college coaching position, while Ivey returns to her alma mater, where she was a longtime assistant before leaving for the NBA.Lawson said she had always wanted to coach at Duke if the opportunity presented itself.“I knew that if it ever came open, I’d try and put my best foot forward and try to secure the position. That’s how highly I thought of the institution and the job,” she said when she was hired. “I had no idea it would happen a year after I went to Boston. It wasn’t in the plans so to speak.”HALF A CENTURY: Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer will be entering her 50th season as a college coach, including the last 26th at Rutgers. The Hall of Famer will be the first NCAA women’s basketball coach to coach 50 seasons and just the fourth men’s or women’s basketball coach in any NCAA division to reach that milestone. She joins Phog Allen (50 seasons , also including time at Baker, Central Missouri and Haskell from 1906-56 besides being at Kansas), Jim Smith (51 seasons at Division III Saint John’s-Minn. from 1965-2015) and Herb Magee, who is beginning his 54th season on the sidelines at Division II Jefferson (formerly Philadelphia Textile), where he took over in 1967-68. ___Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dougfeinberg___For more women's basketball news: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketballSuch

Defending champs moving on as Sounders oust LAFC 3-1

SEATTLE (AP) — Nicolas Lodeiro scored early in the first half, Raul Ruidiaz added a second midway through the second, and the defending champion Seattle Sounders beat depleted Los Angeles FC 3-1 on Tuesday night in the opening round of the MLS Cup playoffs. Lodeiro scored in the 18th minute to give the home side the early advantage and Ruidiaz finally finished one of Seattle’s numerous chances with his eighth career playoff goal in the 66th minute. Eduard Atuesta scored in the 77th minute to pull LAFC to 2-1, but Seattle regained its two-goal advantage moments later when Ruidiaz found Jordan Morris on a quick counter. Morris had missed a wide-open goal earlier in the half, one of several missed chances Seattle had in the opening stages of the second half to build a cushion. Ruidiaz has six career playoff assists to go with his eight goals. Seattle will host FC Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals next week. The marquee matchup in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs lived up to its billing in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference final won by the Sounders in Los Angeles. And it was the Sounders coming out on top again. LAFC needed to be nearly perfect beginning the playoffs short-handed. LAFC was without Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez, Diego Palacios and Jose Cifuentes after all four tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty in South America.The absence of Rossi was the most notable after he led the league with 14 goals in the regular season and was the trigger to LAFC’s offensive attack. Without Rossi, LAFC needed Carlos Vela to be otherworldly. Vela was good. He assisted on Atuesta’s goal, and nearly had a second but Mark-Anthony Kaye’s goal in the 88th minute was ruled offside by video review. But Vela’s lasting memory will be a poorly taken penalty kick in the first half that was easily saved Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Vela drew the penalty just two minutes after Lodeiro’s opening goal, using his experience to catch Nouhou Tolo reaching and cause the foul in the penalty area. But Vela’s PK attempt was a weak, forgettable effort that caused Frei to slide only one step to his left and make a clean catch without much effort. It was the first penalty saved by Frei in a non-shootout since April 2016. ___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports